Highway of Dreams
A Critical View Along the Information Superhighway
Routledge – 1996 – 256 pages
Series: LEA Telecommunications Series
This important volume reviews the history of the telecommunication superhighway pointing out its beginnings in the interactive TV and broadband highway of the wired cities more than two decades ago. It explains the technological uncertainties of the superhighway and many of its futuristic services, and also gives an understandable review of the technological principles behind today's modern telecommunication networks and systems.
Recognizing that technology is only one factor in shaping the future, the author, a well-recognized telecommunications expert, analyzes the financial, policy, business, and consumer issues that undermine the superhighway. The book concludes by showing that today's switched telephone network and CATV systems already form a telecommunication superhighway carrying voice, data, image, and video communication for a wide variety of services that enable us to stay in contact with anyone anywhere on our planet.
Highway of Dreams is written clearly with understandable explanations for nonspecialists. It challenges the technological utopia offered by the promoters of the superhighway and suggests that consumer needs, finance, corporate culture, and policy often have far greater impact on the future than technology alone.
"Noll's tough-minded analysis of various aspects of the superhighway makes use of the history of the developments in communication technologies since the early 1960s."
"…highly recommended for anyone interested in the marketing and policy aspects of electronic services to the home and business….With our eyes glued to the future, Noll's book is a timely reminder of the last 30 years of experience with the new ways of providing electronic information and entertainment."
—Journal of the American Society for Information Science
Contents: Foreword. Preface. Introduction. A Technological Utopia. Historical Perspective: Lesson From the Past. History Repeats Itself: Lesson From Today. Technological Uncertainties. Financial Viability. Consumer Need. Business Considerations. Policy and Regulatory Issues. The Internet Exposed. Pitfalls of Trials. A Secret: The Superhighway Is Already Here! Dreams of the Future. A Final Perspective. Appendices: Technology Primer. Financial Tables.